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Or maybe you fell in love with a set and bought it, even though you don’t do Project Life. Pull out three of the same card and line them up in various ways to create borders or anchoring lines. As a bonus I also shared some design tips for when you are using pocket pages and all you have are 3×4 photos, since those are the hardest pages to make look good, in my opinion. I love any methods that make an attractive Project Life spread quick and easy, so I’m here with another tip and some examples today. When it comes to Project Life and its pocketed pages, I mostly prefer to slip things in — to keep it simple.
But there are times I want to play more in those pockets, and there are times when the memorabilia, the colors, or the design demand more.
So how can you have a little more excitement in those pockets, without making it as demanding as a traditional scrapbook page? Add layers and extra pieces for the purpose of unifying the design (rather than for the sake of adding extra stuff). CLICK HERE for your new membership with Paperclipping and get immediate access to 239 videos, plus two more every month.
Over the past year I’ve figured out solutions to all these problems and I want to share them with you. I got this idea from my favorite pages in Izzy’s Project Life album and I shared an idea for doing it with washi tape from my December Project Life pages as a way to reduce chaos.
If you have more than two or three journal cards across a spread, you’ll want to break up the repetition with one contrasting card for variation to make it look interesting. I also share my process for completing a month in a quick, simple way that still leads to attractive pages. Do you ever have Project Life pages that become too chaotic when you add the cute journaling cards? I love Christmas red as the dominant color for the Christmas season, but I don’t own any Project Life (PL) journal cards with red.
Since I very often use the PL grid cards for my journaling to keep my page from getting chaotic, it occurred to me that I could dress up the gridded cards with my red washi tape.
At this point I decided to line the tape up with the top of the card instead, wrap the tape all the way around, front to back so I could use the same card on the opposite side, and then trim away the excess corners so they would be rounded like the card. To give the pages some interest, and to keep it from being too flat and boring, I added a handful of wood veneer Christmas trees to intersect with the bottom edge of the washi.
Notice how the same red washi tape unifies the page, so the parts and pieces don’t look so random. December brought me the solution to one the biggest problem I run into while doing Project Life — the often chaotic look of many of the pages.
In the front of the middle drawer I have two mini kits, and behind that is a tray of mixed cards from a few core kits plus whatever I’ve cut down from regular paper lines. The right drawer is where I throw any memorabilia for all kinds of scrapbooking until I have a chance to sort it for standard scrapbooking, or put it into one of my Project Life albums.
These days I keep two current Project Life albums going at once — one for our everyday life, the other to document our everyday dance life (You can see how the Project Dance Life album was born on video in Paperclipping 229. I mainly keep the general everyday album open at the current spread, and the dance album is standing behind it. It’s an easy place for the current spread to be viewable for anyone, without cluttering up the main areas where we live and entertain. I can choose and edit photos from the table in the library, and wirelessly send them to print on my Selphy (small black 4×6 printer on the counter) where the prints will sit and wait next to my album.
If you haven’t chosen clear parameters, you probably feel overwhelmed and are less likely to commit to as many pages (of either type) because of the lack of sureness. I tried doing Project Life for three years alongside standard pages, with a general yet slightly vague idea of why I was doing Project Life and what it’s purpose is for me.
While your desires and purposes might be different from mine, it should give you some relevant questions to ask yourself and some ideas to explore. Becky Higgins created Project Life as a simple solution to scrapbooking, but many of us online have complicated it with daily and weekly approaches and a focus on lots of additions and embellishments. We’ve talked on the Roundtable about how we, as women, often place unnecessary expectations on ourselves. He doesn’t make it harder than necessary by forcing each spread into a week, or forcing each week into a spread.
For this spread he wanted to talk about working on the editing of his short film so he added in some pictures during the film shoot last year.
Izzy has left the right side of this spread blank because he wants to fill it in with photos from another, future, bike trip.
We love using embellishments to make our pages more visually pleasing but Izzy did something I’ve never seen before!
It’s a simple way to get good design without having to break out lots of products, tape, etc. There’s no right or wrong, and there are other simple approaches you can take for Project Life or scrapbooking. My name is Amber Lee Garrison, I'm a thirty something mother of two who grew up right here in Salem, Oregon. I love the flexibility of digital photography but I much prefer to be behind the camera instead of in front of the computer so you won't see a lot of post-processing from me.
I’ve been using a BG Capture album to record all the fun things that have been happening in 2013, and of course, Fleetwood Mac totally earned their spot in my book. I decided to keep things pretty simple and let the ticket (tucked into the center page protector pocket) do the talking for me.
This page was super simple to whip out because it was all about my recent trip to San Diego. Hard to tell from this photo, but I included a mini layout between both pages, just to break up the symmetry of the spread a little bit.
I wanted to include this super cute 2013 print from Urbanic, so I decided to just glue it on top of my page protectors and place the gorgeous Studio Calico aqua ombre paper underneath. For the mini layout, I tried to keep it as simple as possible (my general rule of thumb for PL, really).
I’m in love with this graphic Crate Paper pattern and the way it brings all the rainbow colors in my spread together. I loved the way it allowed me to use all my favorite elements (paper, photos + memorabilia) in one place without having to make traditional scrapbook pages.
Despite my mountainous to-do list, I managed to squeeze in a little Project Life this week and am so glad I did. Left: The far left middle pocket has the ephemera glued right on top of the page protector. Left: Life Love Paper woodgrain paper, Heidi Swapp neon letters (which are perfect for PL because they have barely any dimension!), and pink + yellow washi tape.
I saw Niecy Nash at Disneyland on Friday and then Heather Locklear in Montecito on Saturday.
Lots of design projects going on over here and all that face time with the computer has me itching to make something with my hands.

This morning I got sucked into a Kardashian marathon (oh yes) and cranked out several little bows for all the babies in my ever-growing extended family. I had grand plans for the month of June, but somehow it just turned out to be a single page. I’ve fallen off the PL bandwagon in a major way these past few months, but I’m determined to get back on track for the summer!
Sometimes I think my scrapbooking days are behind me, but then I rifle through my Thickers drawer for a few moments and I am filled with warm fuzzies. So when she suggested we go to her office after lunch so she could show me around, it was only because of my deep love for her that I agreed. She showed me the Project Life kits by Becky Higgins (I totally have a story about her later!) and explained how it worked.
You mean I don’t need to haul out the totes full of stencils, rulers, die cuts, sticker, fancy scissors, paper cutters, glue, tape, etc??? I  knew I would never remember what all the patterns and sayings were every time I pulled it out so here is my little trick. Well I got my picture taken with her but almost felt guilty taking up any of her time when others in the room were hyperventilating for the chance to see her.
I am a digital scrapper, but I seldom send my pages to be printed (read: I only print my pages when we get our tax return).
Funny that you blogged about this today – I just purchased a kit from Michaels today. Hi Stacy – I am so not a digital person and I totally get your comment about the hand written notes. I have been a big scrapbooker but since I’ve become a DIY blogger that has replaced my scrapbooking. BLOCK PARTY is our first Project Life kit and we're excited to bring the Studio Calico style to your album! This vibrant collection of journaling cards from American Crafts, One Little Bird Designs, Paislee Press, Lili Niclass and In A Creative Bubble is inspired by constellation chats and nautical maps - it's sure to guide you to a perfect project.
Either way, I’ve been hearing that a lot of scrapbookers are looking for ways to incorporate those cute cards into traditional pages. It’s a great way to use repetition in your design while giving structure to the page. Some items and spreads have extra special needs in order for the pages to be balanced and unified. And I believe it does that for people who have not been scrapbooking a whole lot like you and I have.
These tips are not rules and they’re not the only way to make your Project Life pages look awesome.
I made a tutorial this week where I go through a month of pages (3.5 spreads), and show you how to do all three of these tips, plus additional ones!
I don’t need every single one of these cards to journal on, so I added the red rectangle piece with the Santa mustache. There are Christmas cards with very different colors and looks, there is a part of a Starbucks gift back, there is a screen capture from Facebook, and then an everyday photo.
Together the cards become the grounding focal point amid what would otherwise be chaos, since no single photo is dominant. It’s possible that once my scraproom is finished I could end up moving it in there, but I have serious doubts.
That is the section of the house that I think of as my own space, with the exception of the guest bathroom that is back there.
And since I’m the one that does the laundry, you can see why I feel like this is my area of the house. I might use one cupboard space below for pocket pages, but right now I’m only using two of the drawers to hold PL supplies.
Since taking this picture I’ve added file folders in there to sort any PL memorabilia by month. I used to keep it at my desk in my scraproom, but I found I like to do a lot of my work at the table where I homeschool Trinity, instead of at my desk. I just need to add a final detail or two to my December pages and post them in the next day or so. On video I share what I chose for Project Life, as opposed to leaving it for viewing on my computer or putting in a standard album, and why. He prints related photos and creates a spread on that topic, regardless of whether it filled a week, a day, or a few hours. He knows that our other photos are easily viewable for us on the computer, on Facebook, and streaming on our television screen. But if you’re finding it difficult to keep up with your current method, these are a few possibilities you might consider if you want to make it easier on yourself.
I think they are harder to see this way, but I wanted to show how my weeks usually play out page protector wise. The G style insert in the middle documents what Tuesday was doing while we were apart, flipped open the back and the next full sized protector show what Bj and I were doing.
Of course, my knee-jerk reaction was to throw it in my basket as fast as possible, but then guilt set in and I proceeded to have a mini debate with myself along the lines of “another stamp set?! I wanted to keep the focus primarily on the photos and memorabilia, but I also used a geotag flair from SC, striped aqua washi tape from Freckled Fawn, and my J & A stamp.
I’m having so much fun getting back into it and experimenting with the smaller size and looser format.
I backed the print with white cardstock that I ran through my Cuttlebug with this polka-dot embossing folder, added a little embellishing, and called it good. Minimal embellishments, a little bit of ephemera, and quick and easy journaling thanks to my typewriter. Right: a quick journaling card that I whipped up in Illustrator to document the fact that summer (unfortunately) never really ends here. Sometimes I forget how much easier it is to type things out on the comp and print them versus handwriting and changing my mind mid-paragraph.
I had a hard time getting the color palettes to jive (which is usually the easiest part for me!) and it took way longer than it should have. Then I went back to computer, did a little more work, answered e-mails, and promptly dumped my Project Life materials all over my desk. And with Fall + Winter comes one of my all-time favorite holiday traditions: December Daily. But I did keep the embellishments and the paper inserts white, so maybe that counts? Either way, I am still loving the minimalist approach. There were plastic sheet protector thingys that the different sized cards and photos go in.  Slip in the photos. It won’t take me an hour to pull it all out, and hour to sort through paper, and an hour to do one page only to have to neatly pile it all back in the totes so the kids won’t mess with it in the morning??? I separated them and put one on the riverside (but still together) and spread them out over the bench and table top.
You can find them at  Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Archivers, Craft Warehouse, Beverly’s Fabrics and hundreds of independent shops.

I was just going to paste in a book, but these cards seem easy enough to grab, write and move on. Whether it is big or small, I think everyone should love their home and I don't think it takes a lot of money to make a space your own. I post tons of budget friendly projects and by subscribing, you'll never miss a single one! We have brand new designs from Amy Tangerine and Dear Lizzy, as well as fresh new designs from Studio Calico and Tim & Beck. This kit contains double sided journaling cards sized to fit in your Project Life album, stickers, badges, washi tape and a 4x3 stamp set that will be perfect for recording the new year.
When you do it for these purposes, you’ll do just enough to make the page complete, without doing more than necessary.
Or if you tend to spend hours on your Project Life pages and wish you were faster, this might help you turn it down while maintaining a little bit of play.
These are the tactics I’ve come to love as the way that I make the pages attractive, while letting my photos shine, and still keeping it simple and manageable. In the image above from my video tutorial, you can see that I did the two-color accent option, with black and white being dominant. Especially for a month like December when the entire 31 days is a period of celebration, and most of the photos go well with one specific color. I can go back and forth between PL and laundry, and I can easily dash into my scraproom to grab or put away any extra supplies I want to use while doing Project Life. I’ve had brief moments of enthusiasm and weeks of inaction and the question of whether to keep it up.
He blew me away with his simple approach, and let me tell you, I LOVE looking through his Project Life scrapbook! Though I was trained in traditional black and white film photography I got my first digital camera in 2005 and went fully digital in 2006. And in this case the striped sheets were a dead giveaway that she was not waking up in her own bed! I scanned them all in first, to have a permanent record incase something happens to the book (nooo!!!!!), and I like the authenticity of it in there. Our seats were pretty far back but the great thing about the Bowl is that there really are no bad seats. I’m still loving the smaller format and my minimalistic approach to jamming photos and memorabilia in those little pockets. I love the white space it gives my page and figure I will worry about what I will place on the other side of it when that time comes. I also plan on forgoing a rigid week-by-week schedule and instead, simply filling up my pages when and how I see fit.
However, the one thing I did that helped expedite the process was typing my journaling directly onto my photos in Photoshop.
So my sister carefully took photos of each page (scanner would be better) and then we cropped the pics, and then printed them in 12×12 photo book on shutterfly for each kid. Tell the word that “you are here” with our Kal Barteski stamp set, and add some stitching with two new Amy Tangerine tags. I found it while I was putting together my December pages (I work Project Life monthly instead of weekly).
Clicking there will take you to all the products, which will take you through to Amazon to purchase was is currently in stock.
I don’t worry about the order of photos with in the week, so this works, since I do take a lot of vertical photos, and the A style is just too limiting for me. I think all these photos save one are from my iPhone, it really is fantastic for this project. The book is in my perspective, and it’s so rare we get so much time together I really wanted to celebrate it. Another trick I used: swiping my photos from my blog + Instagram feed before I did anything else. There are too many hilarious moments that need documenting and too many Instagram photos that need to be printed. We went to lunch one day and she was all excited about a scrapbooking product called Project Life. Now when I want to scrapbook again I can look at my pictures and know I what I want and can find them. When my dad died when I was a teenager, suddenly every note he jotted down in his handwriting became gold. So basically I will need to sell  one of the afore mentioned children to pay for all my pictures. You’ll find a new story around every corner – and our August kit will help you record them all.
Nonetheless, I somehow convinced myself that YES, I NEED ANOTHER STAMP SET and so it came home with me and I haven’t looked back since.
Other products used here include the Yeah Yeah Yeah die-cut, mini alphas, and aqua washi tape. All I can say is that it was on my desk and I needed something to fill that spot so I slapped it in there. That helped me determine what I wanted the spread to be about and broke down the photo-to-ephemera ratio. Being able to print pictures out and immediately stick them in their respective pockets has been a great way to streamline my process.
And then there’s the question of where I am going to keep all the memorabilia from everyday life if I don’t keep a scrapbook? I do like that look, and will occasionally throw one in, but I know it will date this book badly if I go too far that direction.
The concert was spectacular (as expected) and it definitely brought all the hipsters out of the woodwork – ha! I am obsessed with the classic Martha font (Archer) and how surprisingly easy it is to create phrases to stamp. And as logical and mathematical as I just made that sound, trust: there is zero math going on here. Just when I think I have reached the end of my scrapbooking days, I get sucked right back in. So even though I have to wait a few more months before I can get started on any holiday fun, I can always work on Project Life. And the only reason I did it then was because I was pretty sure Child Protective Services would haul off my kids if I didn’t produce a lovely, die cut filled scrapbook detailing every detail of their life.

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